City Delays SW Gage Blvd. Project, Businesses Petition Court Over Accessibility Concerns

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Road work scheduled to begin on SW Gage Boulevard this Monday, April 1 is delayed.

The City of Topeka announced Friday officials are working with affected businesses to make them more accessible during the project.

Right now, the plan is to completely close Gage between 33rd and 45th during the duration of the project, which is expected to last about eight months.

Five area businesses filed a petition Thursday in Shawnee County District Court, saying the closure would cause them irreparable harm. The business include Blackburn's Nursery, Blue Dot and two gas stations.

In the court filing, Blackburns says the closure would come at its busiest time of year and could cost up to 70 percent of its annual sales.

Blue Dot says a closure would prevent semi trucks from delivering supplies needed to continue its operations.

Haag Inc., which operates Tammy's on the Go and Kicks 66, says a closure would prevent customers from accessing the convenience stores and gas stations.

The final parties, Daivd and Michelle Boyer, own a commercial building at 3343 SW Gage which includes a salon, business office and alterations office, plus a coffee shop which the Boyer's operate. They state in the lawsuit that the closure would reduce business and possibly cause their tenants to leave.

A hearing is set for April 3. The businesses are requesting a temporary injunction to stop the total closure. At Tuesday's City Council meeting, nursery owner Brett Blackburn suggested finding a way to at least keep one lane of traffic in each direction open during the project, rather than a complete closure of the road.

The city did not say how long it might delay the project. City spokesperson Suzie Gilbert said city officials made the decision to delay the project before they learned of the businesses' court petition.

City Manager Jim Colson said officials are committed to being business-friendly and are working to communicate better with impacted parties.